In this article, we will discuss how the use of CBD oil can help your dog with its glaucoma symptoms.
Studies show that cannabinoids, the active ingredients in the cannabis plant, “effectively lower the intraocular pressure (IOP) and have neuroprotective actions .”
If your dog has glaucoma and you are looking for a holistic approach, CBD oil may be able to help with eye cell death, pain, and anxiety. Keep reading as we will explain why CBD might be the future of canine glaucoma therapy.
What is Glaucoma in Dogs?
Glaucoma is a condition where the aqueous humour liquid inside the eye is incorrectly circulated. A healthy eye will regulate the production and drainage of the eye fluid.
This fluid is vital because it nourishes the retina’s eye tissues and protects them against foreign bodies. It also helps the eye to retain its shape by providing a healthy degree of pressure.
In Glaucoma, the eye insufficiently drains fluid, causing a build-up that creates excess pressure in the eye retina, called intraocular pressure (IOP). This pressure causes damage to the eye, specifically to the optic nerve used to transport visual information to our brain.
What Causes Dog Glaucoma?
Glaucoma conditions are either primary or secondary. Let’s explain:
Primary Glaucoma is brought on by genetics and takes place gradually. For some pets, Glaucoma is an inherited condition. It is common in certain dog breeds, such as:
- Cocker Spaniels
- Shih Tzu
- Basset Hounds
- Wire Fox Terrier
- Labrador Retriever
- Siberian Husky
- Norwegian ElkHound
- Or mixed dog breeds
Secondary Glaucoma is caused by a sudden blockage of eye fluid and the consequent build-up. This unexpected drainage problem could be caused by previously undiagnosed eye disease or trauma. Chronic retinal detachment, advanced cataracts, eye tumors, and infections are all triggers for secondary Glaucoma.
Symptoms of Glaucoma in Dogs
The chronic build-up of pressure in the eye is extremely painful for people and canines. Your dog is unable to come and tell you about the beginnings of pain, and so, in most cases, Glaucoma is only noticed by pet parents after vision loss has begun.
Besides eye pain, these are the most common symptoms of Glaucoma in dogs:
- Sensitivity to touch around the eyes and head
- Behavioral changes, such as depression and aggression
- Disinterest in daily activity
- A loss of appetite
- Change in sleeping habits
- Headaches are displayed by head-bumping walls, furniture, etc.
You may eventually begin to see changes in the eyes themselves. Enlarged pupils that are non-responsive to light, eyeball enlargement, red blood vessels, and a cloudy eye lens are progressed symptoms of Glaucoma.
Glaucoma Treatments for Dogs
If you notice any changes in your dog’s eyes, it is best to get them checked out by your dog’s veterinarian. The longer intraocular pressure builds, the more damage occurs to the eye. Your veterinarian will use a tonometer to measure eye pressure.
It’s a painless procedure where the veterinarian will use a local anesthetic eye drop to numb the canine eyeball. The reading will reveal the amount of pressure in the eye, and whether it is above the healthy range.
Early diagnosis will allow your veterinarian to treat Glaucoma by using methods that slow down the progression of the condition. Your vet may prescribe medication or eye drops to dry out or restrict the production of eye fluid.
Surgical treatment is also an option for decreasing eye pressure. Sadly, there is no cure for canine Glaucoma, and a large percentage of dogs diagnosed with the disease will be living in the dark within a year of their diagnosis.
Even though the optic nerve damage cannot be reversed, the veterinarian can perform procedures to reduce the eye pressure and ease the pain. Cyclocrotherapy is a cosmetic procedure that destroys cells that produce aqueous humour. Many times though, the blind eye will be removed so that pain management (and its cost) can discontinue.
Without the hope of a cure, the main focus of treatment is to reduce pain symptoms and help your dog to remain comfortable. Many dogs can still live a happy life without their sight in one or both eyes.
How can I Lower My Dog’s Eye Pressure?
In terms of conventional canine glaucoma management, there are two options – medical and surgical. Which approach is best depends on several factors, including overall eye health and the dog’s age.
The veterinarian may prescribe medication or eye drops (usually carbonic anhydrase inhibitor (CAI) to dry out or restrict eye fluid production. Sadly, studies show that “glaucoma therapies in dogs frequently fail within months of the diagnosis.”
Alternatively, the veterinarian can perform procedures to reduce eye pressure and ease the pain.
Cyclocrotherapy is a cosmetic procedure that destroys cells that produce aqueous humor. However, in extreme cases when the pain is beyond management, the vet will recommend removing the affected eye.
Instead of conventional management, you can try using CBD oil to manage your dog’s increased ocular pressure and provide much-needed pain relief.
However, always speak to your veterinarian before adding CBD supplements or natural holistic options to your dog’s glaucoma management plan.
A Look at CBD Oil and Dog Glaucoma
The beneficial effects of CBD stem from its ability to replace the body’s endocannabinoid and interact with the endocannabinoid system (ECS). The ECS is a complex system consisting of endocannabinoid and cannabinoid receptors.
When these components bind, the ECS affects various body functions (metabolism, appetite, sleep, mood, memory, inflammation, immunity), thus promoting a state of health and balance or homeostasis in dogs.
Does CBD Oil Help Glaucoma in Dogs?
A study published in The United Kingdom Journal of Ophthalmology found that “Cannabinoids effectively lower the intraocular pressure (IOP) and have neuroprotective actions.” They go on to state that cannabinoids can be effective in treating glaucoma.
In fact, several studies mention glaucoma in their list of diseases CBD can potentially treat.
However, cannabidiol (CBD) is not the only cannabinoid with glaucoma managing properties. One study looked at other cannabis plant compounds, mainly cannabigerol (CBG) and cannabinol (CBN), and discovered that they are efficient in lowering intraocular pressure when used chronically.
According to a recent study, CBD has the potential to be used as a glaucoma treatment because of its neuroprotective effects. There is a neurotransmitter called glutamate, which plays an important role in glaucoma pathology.
Namely, this neurotransmitter triggers so-called glutamate-induced neurotoxicity, which results in eye cell death. The CBD’s neuroprotective features inhibit the glutamate effects this slowing down the glaucoma progression.
Additionally, CBD has strong antioxidant and anti-inflammation properties, thus protecting overall cellular health.
Most of these studies are in humans. However, the ECS is the same in all mammals, meaning we can use the results as anecdotal evidence for the potential CBD effects in dogs with glaucoma.
Using CBD to Boost Eye Health in Dogs
CBD oil naturally boosts eye health because it is rich in antioxidants, vitamin A and beta-carotene. These three ingredients have strong eye health-promoting properties and protect the eyes from potential damage and deterioration.
A 2014 study on rats with degenerative eye disease (retinitis pigmentosa) demonstrated that after 90 days of cannabinoids supplementation, they started scoring better results on vision tests. In fact, compared to non-supplemented trial members, the CBD supplemented rats had 40 percent more photoreceptors.
What are the Benefits of Using CBD Oil for Dog Glaucoma?
Since conventional glaucoma treatments usually fail to yield successful results and CBD oil is both safe for dogs and shows promising results in managing glaucoma, more and more pet owners are turning to this alternative approach.
CBD Oil for Dogs with Glaucoma Pain
One of the main concerns in pets with glaucoma is pain management. Luckily, CBD oil is efficient in offering pain and discomfort relief.
Namely, clinical evidence suggests that CBD “imparts analgesia in certain conditions and improves the quality of life.” CBD can increase the body’s amount of anandamide – a compound associated with pain regulation, thus reducing pain perception.
Many studies mention CBD as an “effective treatment for chronic pain,” including corneal pain. The CBD’s potent anti-pain properties are the reason why “of the 62% of people who use CBD for a medical condition, the majority are treating chronic pain.”
Risks and Considerations When Using CBD oil for Dog Glaucoma
Just because CBD oil can help with glaucoma does not mean it is always indicted. Before adding CBD oil to your dog’s glaucoma management plan, you need to talk to your vet about the risks and considerations when giving your dog CBD oil.
The Side Effects of CBD Oil for Dogs
CBD oil is a generally well-tolerated and safe natural supplement for dogs. However, as with any other medication or supplement, it can trigger side effects in some pets. These are some of the potential side effects:
- Dry mouth
- Increased sleepiness
- Lowered blood pressure.
Luckily, these side effects are mild, self-limiting, and usually occurring during the initial CBD oil introduction. If the side effects persist after a few days, a simple dose modification will eliminate them completely.
Potential Medication Interactions
The use of CBD oil increases the liver enzymes, which means it may alter the way certain medications are metabolized, particularly medications processed in the liver. In simple words, CBD oil can interact with certain medications, either boosting or suppressing their effects.
Therefore, if your dog is on vet-prescribed or over-the-counter medication, it is imperative you talk to your trusted veterinarian before starting to use CBD products.
Finding a Premium-Quality CBD Product for Your Dog
Pet owners increase the risks of using CBD when they carelessly buy CBD products without making sure it is the best CBD oil for dogs.
With so many confusing CBD product labels and manufacturers cutting corners to place their products on the market as soon as possible, finding a high-quality CBD oil can be a challenge. Here are some things to consider before buying a CBD product for your dog:
- Always pick CBD oil extracted from a hemp plant and not from marijuana as the marijuana variety will contain THC (a psychoactive compound), which is toxic to pets.
- Choose full-spectrum CBD over broad-spectrum and isolate – the full-spectrum variety contains different cannabinoids (CBD, CBN, CBG, CBDA) and other compounds with health-boosting traits like terpenes, flavonoids, omega fatty acids, and vitamins.
- Keep in mind that hemp seed oil is healthy but does not contain cannabinoids and cannot help with glaucoma issues – make sure the product is hemp CBD oil extracted from the leaves and flowers.
- Pick CBD oil made from organic hemp, using CO2 extraction methods, and free from ingredients with questionable quality (GMO ingredients, corn, soy, dairy, gluten).
- Purchase from reputable brands that offer a Certificate of Analysis (COA) – a third-party confirmation of the product’s quality and label accuracy.
Can CBD Oil Make Glaucoma in Dogs Worse?
There are some contradictory results in the field of CBD use for glaucoma. These results are derived from human studies but can be applicable to dogs too since the ECS and glaucoma concepts are the same in all mammals.
Namely, a 2006 study on the effects of CBD sublingual administration on intraocular pressure (IOP) found that THC (tetrahydrocannabinol) reduced eye pressure temporarily, while CBD did not affect the IOP.
In fact, if given in high doses, CBD triggered a slight IOP increase. Another study showed that “CBD may interfere with the IOP-lowering effects of THC.”
However, the good news is that CBD was related to increased IOP only if used in high doses. Plus, since THC is not used in dogs because of its extreme toxicity, the CBD’s potential to decrease the IOP-lowering THC effects is practically irrelevant.
How to Find the Right CBD Oil Dosage for Dogs With Glaucoma
The general CBD dosage for dogs guideline falls within the range of 1-5 mg of CBD per 10lbs of body weight.
For example, a small 25-lb Welsh Corgi can receive anything from 2 – 10mg of CBD oil daily. However, a hefty 100-lb Burmese Mountain dog can receive anything from 10 – 50 mg of CBD daily.
Some pet owners may opt for a more potent dose of CBD oil depending on the severity of their dog’s condition and discomfort level. Anyway, for the best results, we suggest starting with the lowest dose and gradually increasing it.
The good news is, even if you give a much higher dose, dogs cannot overdose on CBD oil. In the worst-case scenario, they will take a good nap and sleep off the effects.
Using CBD Oil in Your Dog’s Glaucoma Treatment Plan
So, can you give dogs CBD oil for glaucoma? Yes, hemp-derived CBD oil is perfectly safe for dogs and can help with glaucoma issues.
However, expecting the CBD oil to act as a miracle cure is illogical – glaucoma is a progressive and irreversible condition.
Although CBD oil cannot eliminate glaucoma altogether, it can help with the accompanying eye cell death, pain, and anxiety.
Our Final Thoughts: CBD Oil for Glaucoma in Dogs
CBD oil cannot restore your dog’s eye health or give them their sight back. However, it can help manage the glaucoma progression and relieve the accompanying symptoms.
By offering your dog Honest Paws CBD for pets, you will be supporting its overall health, promoting calmness and relaxation, and helping with occasional pain and discomfort.
Please do not take our word for it, though! Read our CBD for dogs reviews to see how our CBD oil measures up.